You might not know it to look at him, but Tommy Pistol is an Actor, with a capital A. After working in sketch comedy with the group Cheese Theater for more than a decade, Pistol went on to appear in a dozen mainstream projects from shorts to feature films, and began performing in adult in late 2005. He was 2007's Best Male Newcomer, and found universal acclaim for his lead role in 2011's Taxi Driver: A XXX Parody—and with his new project for Smash Pictures, he'll not only be displaying his chops as a director of high-end adult features, but will be pursuing crossover star status with a group that's near and dear to his heart: horror movie fans.
"My goal is to make a name in horror and in porn and with horror porn, because there's not too many people doing it, and when they did do it, it wasn't on a high level," Pistol told AVN. "In March of last year, I released my first indie horror film through Breaking Glass Pictures, called The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol. It's a real horror comedy that asks the question, 'At what point is your dream too much?' So the movie was very close to my heart, and it's gotten my name out there in the horror world and it's keeping it strong and basically gaining me respect."
"My new project is going to be called Too Hard to Die, and we're going to shoot multiple ones, and Bonnie Rotten is going to be the star of the first one," he continued. "And what's awesome about this is, think of it as a comic book series about an apocalyptic zombie world, where Bonnie will be the star of Too Hard to Die, Series 1: Bonnie Vs. Zombies. If at some point we need to choose another actress to be the heroine, it could be Too Hard to Die, Series 2. It's a way to keep it going, and what's awesome about it is, we can always bring back Bonnie and come back to where she is since that time has passed, and we can always have those two or three stars, and as we get further into the series, they can all be in it. It's something that people can come back to, because we'll have ongoing characters that people are going to learn to like and enjoy, and they're all going to have different stories about how they survived and how they're dealing with the apocalypse."
Pistol first approached Smash Pictures General Manager Stuart Wall at the 2013 Adult Entertainment Expo, and after Wall saw what Pistol had managed to do with Gruesome Death on what by any standards was a minuscule budget—check out the trailer here—he signed Pistol to create a horror porn series for Smash.
"Tommy's film is getting a lot of press in the mainstream world," Wall said, "and we viewed it, we liked what he did, and then with this mainstream zombie film coming out, Warm Bodies, the timing couldn't be better, because when you have something to play off of, they just go hand-in-hand. Last year, it might have been vampires; this year, we're all hip on the zombie theme. When you think of zombies and horror, it's more mainstream-oriented, but I want a title that's going to stand out in a porn environment too, and the script is going to blow your mind. It's far out, the way this guy's mind works. It's very creative."
But Pistol sees this project not only as something that will get porn fans off, but as something that will help cement his place in the mainstream horror genre as well.
"I really feel I need to prove something every time I do like a horror project," Pistol admitted. "I have my access into the horror world, and when I direct these, they're going under Aramis Sartorio, my real name, because it's still a horror movie, and I want people to know that I'm still staying current in it. I may be performing as Tommy Pistol, but my directing is going under Aramis Sartorio. That's what I'm doing with the Walking Dead parody I just did for BurningAngel, which I just wrote and directed in December. But I'm not labeling that as Tommy Pistol's movie; that's Aramis Sartorio's second feature, after my other horror film, The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol. So every time I do one of these, I feel like I have to live up to my name and stay true to horror fans: 'Hey; you want to see my work? Yeah, it's a porno, but I'm still staying true to the gore and the horror, so you've gonna come back for more and love it.' In my eyes, horror and adult have the same fans, and as long as you give them what they want, and stay true to what you're making, especially within horror, they'll follow you anywhere."
"Even though these are zombies and porno and bla-bla-bla, I'm not going to go cheap on the gore because I wouldn't be staying true to me and what people expect," he added. "I made my movie with a budget of literally $7,000, literally nothing, so the goal isn't to make cheap movies; the goal is to make bigger movies, and right now, making these horror porn features, I'm getting budgets I've never had before, which is showing me I can stretch my legs and show what I can do. So every time I do something, especially with zombie porn or horror porn, I want to give it my stamp of approval that people are going to recognize and be like, 'This guy kicks ass; he needs to do more mainstream' or 'he needs to do more of these.' That's the goal: Give 'em what they want."
Though many adult features are shown on cable or on hotel pay-per-view systems simply by cutting out the explicit sex, Pistol wants his movies to give consumers even more—and maybe add a bit of social consciousness to boot.
"I don't want to just throw this out there and have people say, 'Ah, she's just killing a zombie,'" Pistol explained. "I want there to be heartfelt moments. I'm giving a little twist to the 'how zombies happened' theory, and I'm not calling this a total, 'Whoa, after you see this, it'll change your life' or anything, but I want to make it interesting. My goal, when I make these movies, is, if you take out the adult, the porn, the sex, would you still want to watch this? Is this going to be entertaining enough? Is it going to be character-driven enough? Is the dialog going to keep you interested? That's my goal. I don't want it to have to depend on the sex, because I feel I need to prove more to stand out, and basically to keep working, and to know that people want me to work."
"I put all my cards on the table with Stuart," he added. "I said, 'If we do it like this, we could go here, we could go there. It doesn't have to stop, where like if you release it this week, bla-bla-bla and then you forget about it. I want to give it legs; keep it running.' I think I can do that. And in horror, you can definitely do that. If you give the fans what they want, they will come back and they will like it."
One thing Pistol will need, however, is extras, and if there are any porn or zombie or horror fans who'll be in Los Angeles in early March, who'd like to perform as zombie extras in the movie, just drop him an email by clicking here.
"There's no pay," he warned, "but the bigger, the badder, the better. If you love zombie movies and want to be a part of something that's going to be really cool, that's gonna be talked about, contact us; hit us up."
Pictured: Tommy Pistol/Aramis Sartorio in The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol